Gonzalo Tiesi is backing fellow Argentinian Juan Pablo Socino to seize his Premiership chance with Newcastle Falcons this season.
The 26-year-old shone for Rotherham in the second tier last term, leading the league’s scoring charts and being named player of the season for the entire division after steering the Yorkshire club to the play-off semi-finals.
Able to play at both fly-half and centre, the uncapped Socino last month played for Argentina’s second-string national side, the Jaguars, in the IRB Nations Cup in Georgia.
Tiesi, preparing for his first full season at Kingston Park after joining midway through the last campaign, said: “Juan Pablo is not someone I really knew too much about until recently because he is younger than me and I had left Argentina before he came through, but I spent a few months two years ago training with him. Having another Argentinian here is good from a personal perspective, and he is a very good all-round player.”
Expanding on the attributes of Socino, he added: “He brings physicality to his game apart from the skills he has to play fly-half, and his goal-kicking percentages are very good. That is something we struggled with at times last season, and hopefully he can bring that efficiency to the team when he plays.
“As well as that he is a strong ball-carrier, he will take the ball to the line and he has the distribution to be able to put players away in spaces. I think he will be a good signing.”
Tiesi is finally back on Tyneside after a two-week wait for a visa for his baby boy, Gonzalo jnr, left himin Buenos Aires longer than intended.
“I did a bit of conditioning in Argentina with a personal trainer just so I wasn’t behind the guys too much, and I knew how hard the squad were working in Newcastle,” said the former Harlequins, London Irish, Stade Francais and London Welsh man. “If I had done nothing it would have been hard to catch up when I eventually got back, but I have been here over a fortnight now and when the boys had their week away last week I was just here getting into it.”
Forced to undertake a punishing session on Newcastle’s Town Moor as part of a gruelling summer schedule, Tiesi said: “The Town Moor hill was tough, to say the least.
“The guys had told me about it and I knew it was going to happen, but it was nice in a way because it was a change of environment. It was a dry and sunny day so I can’t complain too much, even though nobody can enjoy a session like that!”
Having undergone summer training at a number of clubs the Pumas star rates Newcastle Falcons as up there with the best, global trends meaning little variation in strength and conditioning regimes.
“Pre-season is pretty much the same around the world these days, with the intensity you need going into what is a very long year,” said the 37-times-capped midfield man.
“You have to be in good shape to cope with those demands, and as a professional I want to play my best rugby every time I take the field.”